It was one of those days in Santa Clara. The San Francisco 49ers finished their final home practice, and you could tell it was a travel day. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw a whopping five interceptions on the day. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said after practice that Garoppolo “threw it to the wrong team five times in a row.”
From Cam Inman, Tarvarius Moore caught two, and the other three came from Richard Sherman, Jaquiski Tartt, and Ahkello Witherspoon. On the interception from Tartt, Kwon Alexander tipped the pass. Garoppolo would have thrown six picks, but Tartt couldn’t hold on to his second interception. The ball went through his hands and landed in Jordan Matthew’s hands.
If you are the type that will be concerned about this, the interceptions came during the portion of practice where the Niners move the ball during team, and in the red zone period. Shanahan joked that he was a “defensive coach, so he was pleased with the interceptions.” He also said that he thought it was a good chance for Garoppolo to go through some adversity. Garoppolo finished with a pair of TD passes to end the day. The one to Matthews above, and a screen pass to Jalen Hurd.
“The defense did great today, and obviously, he struggled. You hope to never have a day like. . . So when you do that, you hope that you practice long enough to give him a chance to play out of it.”
Crediting the defense
Much has been made about the lack of turnovers the defense generated last season. I’ve already seen several people spin this into a positive for Robert Saleh’s bunch. One of Moore’s interceptions was reportedly a “layup,” but on the other interception, he made a good read, timed the pass and jumped the route for what likely would’ve been a 100-yard return for an interception. In addition to the interceptions, LB LaRoy Reynolds and Witherspoon also broke up passes.
I loved this quote from Shanahan:
“You try to protect them in a game. But in practice, it’s the exact opposite. When there’s an issue, you kind of poke at it a little bit more to see how guys react.”
That’s what practice is for, to see what you can and can’t get away with. Adversity is a good thing, especially for Garoppolo. He’s going to experience plenty of adversity in 2019. I bet the defense was jawing early and often during Wednesday’s practice.
The team has had days where the offense dominates, and vice versa. Today was clearly the defenses day. The part of the story that nobody is mentioning is that with Joe Staley sitting out, Justin Skule filled in at left tackle. Solomon Thomas beat him for a couple of would-be sacks, as did Arik Armstead. You have to wonder how much the pressure got to Jimmy G and led to the poor throws.
The alternate title for the article: Should the Niners bench Jimmy G?!